Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bandon ~ Charleston ~ Coos Bay, More of Oregon

In all the years we've been coming up to see Mom and Dad, on the Oregon Coast, I've never seen a cranberry harvest, a flooded bog. We've had cranberry candies, seen cranberry soaps, and candles, even enjoyed a couple of Thanksgivings there with cranberry sauce. But this time we got lucky... this time we got to see a harvest, up close. It was a highlight of our visit, for me. Except for the gorse. Ohmygosh, those thorns. Getting this image cost me dearly. Denim and closed toe shoes were nothing to the hard and sharp points of that mean plant! This Picture-a-Day moment was hard won, and very satisfying to capture.

The labor must be heavy, at least for this guy pulling all of that through water. I said, "Good morning," and he said "Good morning," and I left it at that because he did have his hands full. When we went by again, later that day, all signs of the harvest were gone, and I felt so happy to have had that moment, to see how it's done.

All over Oregon, we enjoyed berries. We enjoyed seeing them, picking them, tasting them, identifying them, collecting them in tiny jam jars, eating them in our breakfasts, collecting them for our dinner. Huckleberries and salal berries, and of course blackberries were abundant for picking.

Huckleberries... best when nearly black.

Almost fuzzy, nice flavor. Salal berries.

Once again, Ron and Delia had nice plans for us, like seeing the visitor's center, down the way from West Beaver Hill Road, at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. This picture makes me want to book our next trip, for early October. Then again, we would see snow from the train if we wait until winter break. It's so dreamy to imagine the change of seasons, the beauty of it makes me wishful.

After a nice walk through and quick hike at the Reserve, we headed to the Charleston Marine Life Center. Here is a place worth knowing about, and stopping by! It's new, and fairly small, but it's the intimacy of the center and the quality of the displays that make it so worthwhile. The docents were attentive, the collections and hands-on activities engaging, and no crowds! We've been in fantastic aquariums, large, well-funded, and very nice, but I've developed an appreciation for venues that aren't overwhelming in scale, that have local flavor, with good exhibits. Inside the Center, and outside, we enjoyed a wonderful outing.

Next we found ourselves at Sunset Bay. It's an Oregon State Park. I love Oregon State Parks.

The tide was pretty low. Maria was ready for an explore.

And yes, it was chilly! But you'll see, Maria warmed up to this place, and quick!

At Cape Arago, there are a lot of ways to go! Watch yourselves! I'm not really trying to be alarmist... I just have a strange affection for stick-guy-cautions! Poor fellow.

If this place has a soundtrack, it's of barking sea lions. It's crazy! And we weren't there at a particularly busy time, but sea lions... sea lions have a lot to say, and no time to worry about interrupting each other!

Even when we were just riding in the car, going between sights, Maria and I were happy. The mist hung high in the pines, and we saw more shades of green than seems possible. It was really quite delicious to feel cold, to enjoy the deep gray skies, and biting wind off of the ocean. Every bit of another Oregon day, was well spent and very much appreciated.

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